Some nearby residents concerned about proposed crematorium
KITCHENER -- A local funeral home wants to expand its commercial property and install a crematorium on its property.
The Henry Walser Funeral Home applied to rezone the area a few years ago to allow for an expanded parking lot. The project is still in the application phase.
However, some nearby residents said they didn't know the crematorium was part of the proposal. The City of Kitchener said notices were sent to property owners within 120 metres of the funeral home.
Neighbour Michael Bean doesn't want a crematorium near his home.
"The fact of the matter is cremation, for some people, has very negative associations," he said.
Bean said he has a number of concerns, including the proximity to residential homes and potential environmental impacts.
"If you were living next to a funeral home contemplating a crematorium, what would you think?" Bean said. "You probably wouldn't think it's a good idea."
Owner Henry Walser said he's submitted an application to the city for the addition.
"I've had Trinity Environmental do an environmental assessment of the crematorium and what that would look like, including noise," he said.
That information is included in the report to the city. People living in the area have until Oct. 16 to respond.
"There's many instances where we want to have a cremation done by a certain time and it's not always easy to arrange that," Walser said.
The city said crematorium use would need a revised application.
"It would be a special permission that is required for the property," Garrett Stevenson with the City of Kitchener said. "Crematoriums currently are only permitted in industrial areas of the city."
"This is not a business that belongs in this neighbourhood," Bean said.
Bean said he's been dropping off information to his neighbours, who he believes weren't properly informed of the proposal.
"There's a problem with consultation," Bean said. "This is a significant change to the neighbourhood and I think everybody at least deserves to know about it."
The city said public consultation is the first step in the process. Community engagement will continue into the fall and next year, with a digital meeting to be announced.